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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

View Poll Results: Should I:
Fix it 37 75.51%
Trade it 3 6.12%
Sell it 9 18.37%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-13-2009, 06:16 PM   #1
tj330
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My Ride: 2001 BMW 330Ci 5sp
Unhappy Please convince me to keep my e46

Ugh, I'm thiiiiiiiis close to trading my baby in on a used Mazda3. Crazy, I know. But here is the breakdown:

2001 BMW 330Ci 5MT
Steel Gray, red leather, sport package, xenons
130,000 miles

Has (recently fixed):
- Front Control Arms/CABs (10k miles ago)
- Complete cooling system overhaul (7k miles ago, see http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=626388)
- Final stage resistor (climate control works great)
- alternator (15k ago, reman)

Needs:
- Tires (4)
- Power Steering pump/hoses (still working, but leaky and sort of whistles)
- Voltage Regulator (alternator replaced recently, but the voltage regulator is not adequate so it needs to be swapped for a Bosch item)
- Something on the intake. I replaced the boots after finding a tear, but it has not fixed my occasional lean code, and now it is idling quite rough. I suspect it needs a new or cleaned ICV.
- Oil level sensor (has been out since I bought it, just 10 seconds or so of a yellow warning light on startup)

SES light is ON. Grr. I've been driving around and trying to diagnose this for a while. It seems that over 70 deg F, the SES light turns itself off. It's been colder recently, and here are the codes:

P0313
P0300
P1342
P1351
P1349
P1345
P1347
P0171
P0174
P0313 pending
P0300 pending

I mean in the grand scheme of things, it's probably a few hundred in parts away from being just fine, plus another $600 or whatever for tires. I'm about to put on the snow tires anyway, so till April or whatever I actually don't need the tires.

It's the unknown that's killing me. Could my SES be related to worn VANOS seals? I think I could do that fix, but it's another level of complexity. Maybe camshaft/crankshaft position sensors would need to be replaced too. Mass air flow maybe? I think the ignition coils are ok because the problem is on all cylinders.

I don't want to drop $500 or $1000 on parts and tires if something else is about to go wrong anyway.

So the Mazda3 is a 2005 5-door hatch, in crazy lava orange. 5 speed, 's' trim, with the 2.3L engine. It's clean, serviced, with new tires an 52,000 mi on the clock. Black cloth interior, sporty red trim. I can buy it at $11k. The BMW is worth about $5800 as a trade with the SES light on and the rough idle, or $6300 if everything is working.

Decision points:
  • The Mazda lacks side air bags and head-protection airbags, so the 330Ci is marginally safer.
  • The Mazda3 lacks xenons, but it seems there are decent HID kits out for cheap there to replace the halogen projector bulbs in that car (score one for the ricers).
  • The Mazda has best-in class handling, but that class happens to be front-wheel drive economy cars. Hooray RWD! Booo torque steer!
  • The BMW has 65 more peak HP, a big fat torque curve over 200 ft pounds over half its rev range, sounds better and feels smoother.
  • The BMW has digital climate control
  • The Mazda3 will save me $500 to $600 per year ($50 per month) in fuel costs.
  • Insurance costs are a wash
  • The BMW has a nice color exterior, and a ridiculous, garish interior
  • The Mazda3 has a nice color interior, and a ridiculous, garish exterior
  • The BMW angles its side mirror down to help me parallel park
  • The BMW has speed sensitive intermittent wipers
  • The BMW has power driver and passenger seats, with memory and adjustable thigh support
  • The Mazda has manually adjusted seats
  • The Mazda has 80,000 less miles
  • The Mazda is an insanely practical 5-door hatch, and I'm moving at the end of the month
  • BMW has a moonroof, and a nice big one at that
  • People give you a little more room on the road in the BMW because a) it looks expensive if they hit it and b) it's probably driven by some ******* BMW driver
  • A replacement alternator for the Mazda costs $182, for the BMW it's $250. (most parts probably are about like this).
  • People notice the BMW, and think it's really nice.
  • People would probably notice the Mazda, because it's orange. Other than that...

So, what do you folks think? Fix or trade?

Or sell? Heck, if I'm going to trade it for $6k, I might as well offer it here for, lets see, considering the sales tax credit and the extra hassle, $7300. PM me. KBB private party value is $8200 in good condition, $7300 in fair condition. It's a steal.

Hmm, but I do like the thing.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:19 PM   #2
VALMONT
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you'll regret it if you get rid of it, that 3 is gonna feels sloppier than courtney loves axe wound.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:21 PM   #3
giver13
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Dude, i think the answer is obv. your problems arent that bad. To decide, go drive a mazda and see if you can change. Im guessing no.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:22 PM   #4
neil1138
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mazda 3 feels like sh!t compared to the e46.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:23 PM   #5
theOSUbob
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My friend bought a Mazda3 when his other car got stolen... he loves it. That being said, you have to know what opinion you are going to get posting this on a BMW board... and that includes me. BMW all the way.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:34 PM   #6
Rotha
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at least get a speed3.

your BMW is ****ed. i've been where you've been before and i took out the cars from my garage, borrowed jackstands. oiled my bearings on my toolbox. and got to ****ing work. now its been running great ever since.

sounds like you wouldn't be in this situation if you would have just fixed things when they come and not let them pile up. i've learned my lesson. it took a week of constant work to fix all the **** wrong with my car.

either way, sorry to bust your balls, just get a speed3.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:41 PM   #7
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yea if your gonna get a mazda, at least get a speed3.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:46 PM   #8
david @ eas
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at least get a speed3.

your BMW is ****ed. i've been where you've been before and i took out the cars from my garage, borrowed jackstands. oiled my bearings on my toolbox. and got to ****ing work. now its been running great ever since.

sounds like you wouldn't be in this situation if you would have just fixed things when they come and not let them pile up. i've learned my lesson. it took a week of constant work to fix all the **** wrong with my car.

either way, sorry to bust your balls, just get a speed3.
I'm on the same page... At least get a Mazda Speed3 so it's not a bad transition. The new ones look pretty decent and are pretty fun to drive
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:58 PM   #9
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No don't keep the BMW because you don't know how or don't want to fix your car in the right way. Your cooling system was fine but you went and 'fixed' it. The other parts of you car were not fine, but you did nothing for them. Maybe if you keep swapping cars, you will eventually find a used car that is perfect. Although I don't see the chance of that being high since people would generally keep the cars if those are perfect.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:03 PM   #10
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im guessing a speed3 is out of the price range? i would keep the beemer, but learn to work on your car....love it and it will love you....
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:15 PM   #11
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i dont know i just arrived from the world of japanese cars (Subaru STIs) and its nice to be driving something solid, quiet and with a soul
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:15 PM   #12
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I think you just need to find a car you can easily afford. BMWs are expensive to keep especially at 130,000. You have to realize that a lot of what goes wrong, especially what you're talking about, happens to other cars too. Suspension overhauls, coolant leaks, new tires etc. It is just a cost of ownership, and you have to factor that into the initial price of the car. If the Mazda is going to break the bank too, then look even lower. I don't see why you are hesitating to repair your car, yet willing to shell out a couple thousand after trade in for another car. The Mazda is going to have some high priced repairs as well, but they will be cheaper in general because the components are cheaper. Regardless, you will be stepping into another used car that will have repairs coming soon. When buying a used car, always ask yourself why the other person is getting rid of it...

If you are driving around with 11 SES codes and are running on worn tires, it sounds like the car has become out of your price range and you should just get rid of it. Our cars do interesting things for even small issues, so the codes could be just one relatively inexpensive part, but I don't think the car is just a few $100 away from repair especially considering the other problems you are having. The E46 can be a great car, but not if you are constantly worrying about breaking down.

Last edited by JK1150; 10-13-2009 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:25 PM   #13
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e46s also come standard with these, that mazdas do not:

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Old 10-13-2009, 07:59 PM   #14
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e46s also come standard with these, that mazdas do not:

not for me..god damn it
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:11 PM   #15
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Mazda 3's are terrible cars if you want something that you do more than just drive to the shops and back in.

PS, if you want to tell me i'm wrong, at least be someone whos driven one before. My girlfriend owns an 08 Mazda 3 SP23 and its just.. I can't stand it. Its a housewifes car.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:22 PM   #16
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Mazda 3's are terrible cars if you want something that you do more than just drive to the shops and back in.

PS, if you want to tell me i'm wrong, at least be someone whos driven one before. My girlfriend owns an 08 Mazda 3 SP23 and its just.. I can't stand it. Its a housewifes car.
I have to agree. The Mazda 3 is a good car for the daily commute but if you want to have any fun at all with it, you will be very disappointed. Unless you are getting a MazdaSpeed3, then do not even thing about selling/trading in your 330Ci.

Also, for a car with 130K on the clock, those issues you are talking about is nothing much at all.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:24 PM   #17
tj330
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Your cooling system was fine but you went and 'fixed' it.
Um, no actually, he expansion tank cracked, letting out all my fluid and leaving me stranded. I replaced the other stuff because it was at that mileage, I was going to be in there anyway, and Tischer has a nice kit.

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The other parts of you car were not fine, but you did nothing for them.
I don't even know what this means. Are you talking about the oil level sensor? If it breaks, I fix it. If it's a wear item, and it's worn, I replace it. The SES light only started doing it's thing in the last month, and it might be the straw that breaks this camel's back.

Quote:
Maybe if you keep swapping cars, you will eventually find a used car that is perfect. Although I don't see the chance of that being high since people would generally keep the cars if those are perfect.
My previous job was handling the wholesale auctions for a new car dealership (200-300 trades per month). I did that for a year and a half, so I figure at this point I've driven (at last for a short distance) upwards of 2000 used cars. I'm not looking for a perfect car, I'm just debating the pros and cons of keeping a 9-year old car with 130k miles that will definitely cost $700-$800 in maintenance items and an unknown amount in repairs in the next year, and then will have $140k miles with new problems coming up. With every part costing twice as much as it does in most cars, I'm debating whether it's worth doing the work. Plus, maintenance on the Bimmer isn't necessary any harder technically than maintenance on any other car, it just takes up more of my free time because there's so much disassembly and reassembly to get to anything. I like driving on Saturdays, not doing repairs.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:30 PM   #18
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I think you just need to find a car you can easily afford. BMWs are expensive to keep especially at 130,000. You have to realize that a lot of what goes wrong, especially what you're talking about, happens to other cars too.
It's not a question of affording it, I'm not going bankrupt. It's a question of value. I have other things to spend my money on. A mid-to-high mileage Mazda3 will probably cost something like $1500 less per year over the next few years when fuel and maintenance costs are factored in. The question is whether the BMW is $125 per month better than the Mazda.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:33 PM   #19
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I have a 2005 Mazda 3 hatch w/ the 2.3 and a 2004 330 convertible. Of course the 330 is a much better ride, faster, handles better, brakes better and looks better. Still, the Mazda handles great, not as tight as the 330 but still really good. With good tires it really sticks to the road. Mazda engine revs freely, torque steer is not really an issue. The E46 is great off the line. The 3 is not so hot off the line but accelerates decently once the revs hit 3k. I like the Mazda. I love the BMW. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:43 PM   #20
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your BMW is ****ed.
vs.

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Also, for a car with 130K on the clock, those issues you are talking about is nothing much at all.
Yea, I guess it seem like I was letting things pile up. I don't really see it that way. I've been letting maintenance things pile up a little because I'm in the back of my head thinking about trading it in on something else. The key is to get your wear items to all wear out at once, and trade it. Otherwise you're the moron who trades a car with new tires. What I've done is create a decision point, that I was thinking would hit around February, right about when my PA inspection is due. I've been rotating my winter tires and they have about one more season in them. Unfortunately, the intake/lean/SES issues that cropped up in the last month have sort of pushed my decision point forward. I either fix it all now and commit to keeping the car another two years or trade it in.
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